Are You a Buyer or a Browser?

I’ve held eight open houses over the past month and have stuck my hand out and introduced myself to at least 250 people. Remarkably only nine of them wrote offers. Even so, I could pretty much tell which nine they were from the moment they walked through the door. Here’s how I separate the serious ones from those that aren’t really ready to make a move:


You are a real Buyer if you have at least one of these characteristics: 


1.  Are pre-approved for a loan. And I mean REALLY pre-approved; just filling out information on doesn’t count.

2.  Have a real estate agent whose name you can remember. Engaging (and engaged with!) a good agent is a sign you are taking yourself seriously as a home buyer.

3.  Have a hard deadline tied to a particular situation. Relocating employees in temporary housing are good examples. 1031 Exchange buyers, who need to buy within a certain time frame are another.

4.  You make house-hunting a priority and give up social and personal time to golook at homes. I love talking to these buyers. Because they know the inventory so well, they can offer me a first-hand view of the market that I can’t always see as an agent.

5.  You send out verbal and non-verbal clues. If you are by yourself, you get pretty quiet and make several circuits around the inside before slowly leaving. If you are a couple, you whisper to each other as you walk through the house. If you are a trio (parents with adult children, or agent with clients) you confer some more on the sidewalk before moving on to the next one on your list.


You are a Browser if you: 


 1.  Are already enjoying a great living situation. The least likely buyer in San Francisco is the one in a rent-controlled apartment with a killer view and parking. Why would you move?

2.  Your job or financial situation is in flux. If you are filing for divorce, expecting an inheritance or think you may get laid off, now is not the time to get serious about home buying.

3.  Are looking because your friends said you should buy something. I find this profile to be particularly timid and quite vague about what they want. They usually don’t even really know what their price range is.

4.  Walk into my open house holding something. When you walk in with coffee, diapers, or a Munchery bag, I can tell I’m a pit-stop in your day and not a destination.

5.  Ask me if the market is peaking or bottoming out. If you are seriously trying to time the market, you are not really shopping for a home. The real buyers already know the timing is right for them.

Skip to content